At the end of my street lies the river Seine. As I walked to work this morning I saw a curious sight. I saw wooden structures bobbing up and down on the water, something I had never seen before. What on earth is that?, I said to myself. As I got nearer, I saw with amazement that the structures were the dozen or so houseboats docked along the riverbank. Normally they’re low and hidden from the street. But after days and days of non-stop rain, the water has risen so high that the houseboats have risen with it. As I said, it was a curious sight. I also saw a single swan being swept downstream on a strong current.
The city is preparing for a flood…not from rains from above, but from the swelling of the river. The Louvre museum is closed in order to take down and safeguard treasures. Ventilation openings in the Musée d’Orsay have been blocked up. Bankside roads are closed. Certain retirement homes and homeless shelters have been emptied and people relocated to gymnasiums. Electricity is cut in certain areas. The RER C train line that runs alongside the Seine is closed. My concièrge told me earlier that our street is at risk of flooding. And if it does, we’ll see lots of rats.
According to the Ministry of the Environment, the river measured 5,13 metres this afternoon and by tomorrow (Friday) will measure between 5,30 et 5,90 metres. This is far from the conditions of the Great Flood of 1910 when the river rose as high as 8,42 metres flooding metro stations and paralyzing the city.